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January 16, 2012

4

Dr. King’s Dream – Let it Ring Some More!

by Andrea O'Connell
English: Dr. Martin Luther King giving his &qu...

Image via Wikipedia

If collectively we didn’t have a group to hate, we’d have to invent one (to hate).

I can’t remember who said that, but sadly, I believe it’s true.

When I was born, in 1957, segregation still prevailed. There were “colored” bathrooms, beaches, water fountains and many other indignities.

Through the years, and again today, my mother said that, when I was two, I could read and I knew what the “colored only” sign over the water fountain meant, but not what it stood for.

She told me that I thought the “colored” fountain had pretty colored water, like Kool-Aid.   (Children will see things as they are, without filters or ugly meanings.)

“Did you allow me to drink from that fountain?” I asked my mom, today.  “You couldn’t have reached it. You were only two,” she explained.  “Well,” I asked her, “Could you have held me up to drink from it?”

As she thought about it, I pressed on, “Was it because of the times?”

“No, you were too little and didn’t know how to drink from a fountain,” she told me.

It was a different time; and my parents were not the type to rock the boat.

I don’t remember being told I could not drink that colored water.  I wonder if my two-year old self would have felt let-down, or maybe kind of deprived?

Little did I know that an entire population of Black Americans were deprived of much more than colored water.

We have come a long way since then, but not far enough.  I think that either we haven’t come far enough, or we’re regressing.  Personally, I think we are regressing.

We have a long way to go in regards to Human Rights, Equal Rights, and certainly with the right to marry, and Gender/Transgender Equality.

People who today will deny immigrants a place in our country have forgotten that Dr. King’s dream was for ALL rights.  Human rights, Equal rights, Equal treatment, and basic human decency towards all people.

The leaders here in Florida, in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia and elsewhere, need to abolish their bigotry towards immigrants and towards anyone who happens to be different.  If the inhumane treatment of immigrants (and the torture of our enemies), continues, it will destroy the rich history of “for and by the people democracy” that continues to make this country appealing to people from other countries who simply want to come here for a better life.

We have to have compassion all people or hate will prevail in earnest across the other States in this united land of ours, destroying the fabric that keeps our country good and strong.

The Dalai Lama talks about compassion a lot.  In his book, “Ethics for the New Millennium,” he says that without compassion for the sufferings of others, a person will not be truly happy.  He talks about how we must continue to cultivate our inner goodness.  If we do, our actions become conducive to the creation of continuous compassion for others  Things like patience, tolerance, forgiveness, humility, and so on, are the building blocks of compassion, says the Dali Lama.

The inability to have inner restraint will deny the ability to know compassion, thus happiness, he says.

With the bankruptcy of America, which was put into motion by the wealthy one percent, and by the banks who are not taking responsibility for their actions, we need Dr. King’s words now more than ever:

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”   ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I think it’s good that a dialogue about living Dr. King’s dream by engaging in service to others, is happening in my community.

If we lead by Dr. King’s example, our children will grow into people who are world’s better than the people of the 20th century.  Better than those who would erect signs to keep fellow human beings off of “white” beaches, out of “white” bathrooms, and unable to use “white” drinking fountains.

If Dr. King were alive, don’t you think he would tell the haters that the only way to heaven is to have compassion for all people, regardless of race, religion, gender?

Wouldn’t Dr. King tell us that God doesn’t care what your religion is, or how pretty your church is?  I think so.  I also think Dr. King would say something like this:  It doesn’t matter who you pray to, what matters to God is, did you do the right thing?    I think what matters is to have compassion for others; to stand for something, and to deny the haters an audience.

I think he’d say something like that.  I know we’d listen.  But, would the haters listen?

We can dream, right?

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jan 17 2012

    great tribute to a hero!

    Reply
    • Jan 17 2012

      Hi frizztext! Thanks for your feedback. And, oh yes, a hero he is. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Jan 27 2012

    What a great post…If only everyone thought this way.

    Reply
  3. And of course it is connected with the political ideal that men should be equally treated equality before law which secures equal rights .

    Reply

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